AST SpaceMobile has announced a significant achievement during its testing phase with the BlueWalker 3 Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite. Engineers successfully conducted download speed tests on off-the-shelf smartphones, surpassing speeds of 10 Mbps. This achievement paves the way for space-based cellular communications at 4G speeds, marking another major milestone, according to the company.
AST SpaceMobile Surpasses 10 Mbps Download Speeds
AST SpaceMobile said the tests, conducted in Hawaii during June, utilized AT&T spectrum and Nokia RAN technology. The initial speeds reached 10.3 Mbps, and further testing included voice calls to AT&T employees.
According to the statement, the evaluation of BlueWalker 3's capabilities is ongoing, with the next major test activity focused on enabling 5G cellular broadband.
This achievement demonstrates the feasibility of accessing broadband services in areas where cellular coverage is unreliable or nonexistent, bringing connectivity to parts of the world previously underserved.
AST SpaceMobile emphasized the significance of this milestone and its impact on global connectivity: "Achieving this milestone from an unmodified, standard cell phone on the ground connecting through our low Earth orbit satellite is another groundbreaking moment in telecommunications history and an important step toward AST SpaceMobile's goal of bringing broadband services to parts of the world where cellular coverage is either unreliable or simply does not exist today."
BlueWalker 3's Capabilities and Future Testing Plans
AST SpaceMobile announced on April 25 that they completed the first-ever space-based voice calls using unmodified smartphones. They achieved this through the successful deployment of BlueWalker 3, which is the largest commercial communications array ever deployed in low-Earth orbit.
According to the statement, BlueWalker 3 is designed to communicate directly with cellular devices using standard frequencies, including 5G speeds. The satellite is now fully unfolded, spanning a size of 693 square feet, which is crucial in supporting a cellular broadband network in space.
Partnerships around the World
The AST SpaceMobile technology helps wireless companies improve their coverage by filling in gaps and dead zones in their networks. AST SpaceMobile has agreements and understandings with over 35 mobile network operators around the world.
AST SpaceMobile says it is building the first and only global cellular broadband network in space to operate directly with standard, unmodified mobile devices